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Where does stress happen? Ecological momentary assessment of daily stressors using a mobile phone app.

Yao, Xing; Jordan, Evan; Nelson, Erik; Stavrianakis, Kostas; Huang, Ting-Yen (Tim); Moran, Casey


Xing Yao

Evan Jordan

Erik Nelson

Ting-Yen (Tim) Huang

Casey Moran


Despite the importance of daily stress to individuals' health and wellbeing, few studies have explored where stress happens in real time. As such, stress interventions rarely account for the environment in which stress occurs. We used ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to collect daily stress data. Thirty-three participants utilized a mobile phone-based EMA app to record stressors as they went about their daily lives. GPS coordinates were automatically collected with each stress report. Data from thematic and geographic information system (GIS) analysis were used in a chi-square analysis of stressors by location (home, work, work from home, and other) to determine if certain stressors were more prevalent in certain environments. The study found that nine daily stressors significantly differed by location. Work-related stress was reported more often at work but was also commonly experienced at home. In contrast, pets, household chores, sleep and media related stressors were reported most at home, but not experienced as often in other locations. Physical illnesses, vehicles or driving, and law and order stressors occurred most often in the 'work from home' condition. Traffic-related stress was experienced more common in 'other' environments. Study findings: 1) expand the understanding of environments in which specific stressors occur; 2) extend the nomological network of cognitive appraisal theory to include stress experienced in free-living conditions; 3) provide baseline data for potential targeted 'just-in-time' stress interventions, tailored to specific stressors in certain environments; 4) provide findings related to the 'work from home' phenomenon, increasingly popular during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.


YAO, X., JORDAN, E., NELSON, E., STAVRIANAKIS, K., HUANG, T.-Y. and MORAN, C. 2022. Where does stress happen? Ecological momentary assessment of daily stressors using a mobile phone app. Presented at the 2022 American Public Health Association annual meeting (APHA 2022), 6-9 November 2022, Boston, USA.

Presentation Conference Type Poster
Conference Name 2022 American Public Health Association annual meeting (APHA 2022)
Conference Location Boston, USA
Start Date Nov 6, 2022
End Date Nov 9, 2022
Deposit Date Jan 23, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 23, 2023
Keywords Stress (Psychology); Stressors; Causes of stress; Public health
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